We’ve done this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge once before, and I remember my contribution as not being my favorite. And it’s already 22:45. And there’s been a whole bunch of suck going down, so I’m more in the mood to go skeet shooting or kick boxing just to vent. Which, of course, is why I have to slap something together in less than an hour while I’m about 90% asleep.
So, it’s time for another “something-punk” story. What the hell, as long as it’s right there in front of me and I’m watching it anyway, how about “clock punk,” whatever that might conceivably be. As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.
(22:56) He had no idea what he was doing here at this hour, but she had said it was critical and it would end up being the most exciting night of his life. He had been infatuated since he first saw her at a monovidual party a month before. He had gone as a dexterphile, inspired by a roll of ancient plastic wrap he had found at a dilapidated thrift store near the river. She had been into the chron thing but was still transitioning from her previous nudepunk phase. With her body partially covered with strategically placed watches and stick-on clocks, both digital and analog, he and every straight male there had been circling her all night like sharks around a school of groupers. But she had been the shark.
(23:04) I had called him, knowing that he would come. He had drooled so much over her he had almost gone home dehydrated from that party where they first met. Long after all of the other boyfools had run off to lick their wound or feign disinterest, he had kept coming back. He no doubt thought it was a sign of devotion, or at least lust. She thought it more likely that he was a closet undiagnosed maso, but that didn’t matter for what she needed him for.
(23:08) He saw her right where she had said they would meet, slouching in a dark doorway of a closed Thai restaurant with a “C” rating sign in the window. It was chilly enough that she was dressed in her long coatcloak, which had dim vidart oozing over its surface, as well as a few small hardreal digital displays tacked on. As he walked up to her, she stood and the front of the coat fell open, revealing just how little she was wearing underneath. His pulse started to race as she reached out to him and pulled him close.
(23:18) I hadn’t asked how old he was. I already knew. It had taken some hunting to find a soul with the perfect chronstats. But once I knew he was out there, he wasn’t difficult to meet and manipulate. Now it was his time, and mine.
(23:21) The welcome she gave him went well beyond warm. After a moment of surprise, he enthusiastically responded. As she pulled him into the doorway and invited him to play with what she was offering, she began to wrap the oversized coatcloak around him, letting the external vidart fade to black. He briefly noticed what was going on as the garment enveloped him and its internal surface began to display the spinning and dancing psychographic timepieces, but he was really much too busy to pay much attention.
(23:27) I let him taste what he had hoped to find, allowing myself to only distantly feel the contact of his lips and hands. From a small pocket I pulled out the stinger and lit it up, allowing it to synch with the cloak. The timing would be critical if this were to work.
(23:30) He was lost in the rush of hormones and lust, his eyes closed and his senses of touch, taste, and smell heightened, when some small part of his brain wondered absently what the flashing was. He paused in his sexual exploration as the vidart chronographs caught his attention. All of them had flashing time displays, some showing the time, some counting down, all beating in time with his heart, the displays pulsing in a silent synchronized display, the accompanying drumbeat being the blood rushing in his ears. He had thought that this sort of thing was a myth.
(23:33) I felt him stop and tense up, but it was too late. I had reached inside and placed the stinger on the back of his shirt while he was distracted.
(23:38:55) He felt the needle go deep into his spine and the hot gush of the DNA and nanobot cocktail as it was injected. His consciousness simultaneously contracted to a microscopic point and opened up to encompass the entire cosmos. He saw pulsars spitting off spinning pulses with the regularity of an atomic clock. He saw his heart continue to beat with the regularity of a metronome, while the invading mixture coursed through his system and rebuilt him. He saw the entire universe collapse and coalesce into another being, a someone who in a heartbeat swooped down to hover before him. As the other materialized from the void, he felt himself expand in an instant to dissipate and drift off into a timeless nonexistence.
(23:38:56) I felt him transform. Where a second ago there had been the pawing and slobbering of a stranger, now there were the tender caresses of my no longer lost lover. I pulled him to his feet and held him as he looked around, groggy and confused. He recognized me and the realization of what I had done hit him. His eyes grew wide, he smiled, and he took me in his arms.
(23:49) “I knew that you would be able to do it,” he said. “But what took you so long?”
(23:50) “The timing had to be right, and I had to find your doppleganger for it to work,” I replied, taking his hand and leading him toward our home.
(23:51) “Tell me what it’s like to be dead.”